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Factors to Consider When Planning Your Office Design and Layout

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Factors to Consider When Planning Your Office Design and Layout

The challenge of planning an efficient office design and layout can seem like a daunting task. Several key factors must be considered to secure a space that balances utilitarian functionalities with creative interior design.

Whether the purpose of designing a new office layout is for expanding, remodeling, or moving into new office quarters, the process can be exciting, albeit slightly overwhelming. After all, your office design can significantly affect your personal image.

With careful considerations to office space planning, you can create an office space that promotes productivity and innovation in the workplace while attracting and retaining talent with the company.

Here are the key elements you have to consider when designing your new office:

1.    Your requirements

top reasons and goals your business has for a new space

First things first, your planning process should define the planning requirements of your new office design. Whether it’s moving to a new space or renovating the current office layout, start by defining the top reasons and goals your business has for a new space. Yes, it takes a lot of time and money to design/redesign your office and the reasons why you are planning to make changes in the design should guide your whole design process.

Some reasons may include office relocation, a merger or acquisition, or it may come down to the simple need to consolidate existing space as your business experiences departmental shifts and new divisions of labor.

Similarly, the main goals to redesign office space may be to increase productivity and efficiency or rebrand the business to modernize it for internal and external audiences, making it easier to attract new talent to the company.

By first understanding the purpose and requirements of a new office layout, you can discover ‘best practices’ and design trends, as well as the right professional interior design company to work with that, speaks to your brand’s personality.

2.    The importance of lighting

Lighting, be it your home or your office, is one of the most important aspects in the whole designing process from an interior designer’s perspective. When natural lighting is used in a corporate space, firms can reduce their energy consumption and lower electricity bills. But the use of natural light can have an impact on office productivity and overall health as well. The use of natural light in an office setting has been shown to boost productivity, work satisfaction and mood, and worker health. Natural light, therefore, is beneficial for the overall mood in the office.

As such, when designing your new office layout, consider the importance of natural light. Natural light is vital for productivity and motivation purposes. Take into consideration that office furniture or equipment does not obstruct or block sources of natural light.

Complement natural light with modern lighting technology such as LED lighting solutions to truly create an office space that’s conducive for work.

3.    The right colors

importance of lighting

Designing a new layout for your office is the perfect time to integrate color schemes to your office setting. Colors are a powerful form of communication. They can evoke certain emotional responses according to the selected color scheme.

Picking a perfect color for your office can be a bit challenging and is a bit different from picking a perfect color combination for your condo. When developing a new layout, use color to its fullest potential. Incorporating the color green through workspaces, for example, has significant implications on office productivity, efficiency, and employee recruitment and retention. 

Examine your brand’s style guideline and use colors that work with your company’s branding.

Striking the right balance is key when incorporating color to design elements. Too much color can become overbearing and fatiguing. Similarly, not enough color, or having too much white can hinder the productivity in an office environment.

4.    Navigation and space

floor plan

An effective floor plan will ensure your office layout is functional and serves its utilitarian purpose for fire code safety and evacuation plans, alongside having the appropriate emergency exit signage throughout the building. At the same time, fluid navigation can affect collaboration and team engagement. 

Managing and utilizing space effectively ensures that your new floor plan can strategically scale with the business as it grows strength to strength.

Special considerations to navigation and space create a task-orientated working environment that enables employees to perform and collaborate better while accommodating growth.           

The new office layout should also consider the importance of varying working environments. This includes creating spaces for collaborative work and individual, quiet projects.

5.    Turning the workplace into a destination

workplace into a destination

With virtual offices and remote work on the rise, organizations must create offices that enhance culture and is fully enjoyed by its staff. With office space being a valuable real estate investment, companies must utilize every square inch to create a work environment that’s inviting, inspiring, and comfortable.

Furniture throughout the office should be flexible and multi-functional. Multi-purpose rooms, a working cafe, and lounge spaces give staff a desirable destination that they will fully employ day in and day out. When planning a new office layout, democratize key areas of the office.

This encourages active participation, strategic collaboration, and improved productivity.

Seeing the big picture

The design and layout of your office’s workspace will have a significant impact on productivity, engagement, employee satisfaction, brand impact, and talent recruitment. Careful consideration must be given to planning to create an office layout that’s approachable and strategically designed to be conducive to work.

It’s not possible to take into consideration the individual choices of color, lighting, space etc. Therefore, as a designer, your aim should be creating a design which is acceptable to ‘most’ of the people i.e. any design idea which is generally acceptable.

Of course, you can use your skills and knowledge as a designer to come up with something brilliant, but you should remember that the office will be used by regular people and every individual is going to have a different taste and preference. A general approach, therefore, is the best way to go.

AUTHOR BIO
Shane Curran
CEO at Interact Group LLC
Interact Group is a design-led interior fit-out company that aims to set new standards in the UAE interiors market. Driven by their dedication to total customer experience, the company’s mission is to bring truly specialized teams to complex design and fit out challenges, utilizing their unmatched ability to deliver spaces efficiently and above expectation.

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Tips to Jumpstart a Property-Flipping Business

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property flipping

The real estate market is booming and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. And you can flip properties to capitalize on rising demand for properties nationwide.

Flipping properties can be lucrative. But you need to plan ahead before you purchase, upgrade, and flip your first property. That way, you can achieve immediate success out of the gate.

Now, let’s look at four tips to jumpstart a property-flipping business — and keep it going strong long into the future.

1. Establish Goals

Create SMART goals for your property-flipping business. These goals are:

  • Specific: Outline what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do so.
  • Measurable: Ensure that you can track your progress as you work toward achieving your goals.
  • Achievable: Verify that your goals are realistic.
  • Relevant: Confirm that your goals align with what you want to accomplish in your career.
  • Time-Bound: Give yourself sufficient time to complete your goals.

Maintain flexibility with your property-flipping business goals as well. If you need to adjust your goals along the way, do so as needed.   

2. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

Keep an eye on the real estate market. Then, you can make a plan to flip properties per the sector’s current and future performance.

For instance, research indicates U.S. home prices rose 18% year over year in September 2021. However, some real estate market experts predict “buyer fatigue” may impact home prices in the foreseeable future. This could lead to a rapid shift in the real estate market that impacts your ability to purchase properties and flip them for significant profits.

It also pays to watch real estate startup technology trends. Using real estate mobile apps with geolocation and other state-of-the-art technologies can help you determine what properties to target. From here, you can use these technologies to explore ways to get the most value out of your property investments.

3. Obtain Financing

Seek out financing, so you can get the money you need to flip properties. Hard money and conventional loans are available. Evaluate both options carefully to determine if either is right for you.

Generally, it helps to meet with multiple lenders. You can then get insights into various loan options and how they work. Finally, you can make an informed decision on how to finance your property-flipping business.

Don’t forget to set up a budget, too. Know how much money is accessible and stick to your budget as you launch your budget. In doing so, you can reduce your risk of going bankrupt. 

4. Prioritize Property Upgrades

Check out properties and consider how you can upgrade them. Next, you can prioritize upgrades that help you boost a property’s value. At the same time, you can identify property upgrades that won’t break your budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to learn about the legal ramifications associated with myriad property upgrades. For instance, you may need to complete repairs to ensure a residential property’s plumbing is up to code. Or, you may need to remove asbestos from a property; failure to alleviate this issue can expose occupants to harmful airborne contaminants that can contribute to lung cancer and to legal penalties.

If possible, hire professional help to assist with property upgrades. Seek out property improvement professionals who possess comprehensive expertise. These professionals can complete any property repairs correctly, on time, and on budget.  

The Bottom Line on How to Jumpstart Your Property-Flipping Business

A property-flipping business can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities. Some people successfully flip properties for years and earn substantial income doing so. Meanwhile, others start flipping properties and move on to opportunities to rent their properties.

Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can lay the groundwork for a successful property-flipping business. Use these tips to help get your property-flipping business off the ground. And as your company grows, remain persistent to ensure your business can achieve the optimal results now and in the future.

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Malaysian food startup MATES. introducing the concept of Complete Food – OATLER

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MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Ever heard of brands like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier & Gymshark? These are all Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands from the West that have achieved the unicorn status (valued at >US$ 1 billion) by selling everyday products directly to consumers, some are even listed in the US stock exchange such as Warby Parker & FIGS.

Taking a closer look at the SEA scene, you may have come across brands that are mainly digitally native and have minimal offline presence. To name a few, these folks are Oxwhite, Secretlab, Zenyum, Love Bonito, Thousand Miles etc., who have employed various e-commerce strategies to reach the digital-first consumers in SEA.

What is DTC model? Comparison between Traditional vs DTC

MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Here comes the billion dollar question: Why does DTC matter?

Well, the DTC model is gaining traction as brands are moving towards embracing cost-effective business strategies and safer modes of distribution to the consumers.

DTC retail is essentially a fast-track method of reaching consumers, allowing them to make purchase through exclusive channels (i.e. official website), by way of eliminating middlemen involved in the distribution process. This helps the retailers reduce hefty markups from wholesalers and save logistical costs in the secondary mile delivery.

These DTC brands often focus on niche audience via heavy investing in online marketing, thus enabling them to provide them a better quality and greater end-to-end customer buying experience, with very competitive pricing.

Here is a recent example of a Malaysia-based e-commerce brand, MATES. that is adopting the DTC model.

Who is MATES.?

MATES. is a DTC lifestyle brand offering and specialising in convenient and new health products. They aim to provide the urban community with convenient food alternatives without compromising on nutrition and taste.

As seen on their official website, their flagship product is Oatler, a.k.a. 5-Sec Breakfast, an oat-based food that is complete with an adult’s daily nutrition needs packed in a highly portable pouch. Learn more about their product here (2-min read).

MATES. Business Strategies (from Marketing > Community Building > Operating Model)

Social Media Marketing

As discussed above, DTC brands invest massive effort in online marketing. This Malaysia-based brand focuses on social media marketing through creative ways of getting its first batch of users to try out their debut product.

Weeks prior to their official product launch, they did seeding in micro-influencers and key opinion leaders (“KOL”) marketing to get them to share their testimonials and reviews over their social media. This is an effective word-ofmouth marketing as seen in many other micro DTC brands too.

Community Building

Another strategy adopted by this brand is targeted community building. With the proliferation of micro e-commerce brands, today’s consumers have less brand loyalty than ever before. It takes more than just a great product to build a loyal following of customers. MATES. first started out with a 2-pronged approach: (1) social media content creation and (2) creating a club-based community, where they managed to bring a feel-good exclusivity to their social media followers. The followers who resonate with the pain points and overall brand philosophy are likely to be more engaged, thereby convert into a customer and drive word-of-mouth traffic.

Business Operating Model & Product Launch

According to the founding team of MATES., they are currently operating on a 100% e-commerce, pre-order only model, without any offline presence. This allows them to remove the middlemen and minimise working capital.

Customers can place an order upon their official launch on 24 October 2021 and will have their product delivered in early January 2022, i.e. approximately 2.5 months of lead time.

Prior to their product launch on 24th Oct 2021, there is no doubt that enormous amount of marketing work needs to be put in place. They rolled out a referral campaign where everyone can refer their friends mainly through social media channels and, in return, receive rewards upon achieving certain amount of referrals.

For this campaign, they have incorporated a “milestone” concept, where a referrer is entitled to purchase a certain number of MATES. products at RM1 depending on the referral “milestone” achieved.

There are 3 milestones in total:

1. Referred 8 friends = 2-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

2. Referred 25 friends = 6-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

3. Referred 100 friends = 1-year supply of breakfast @ RM1

While this seems creative and does create a fun game-like experience to the participants, it still boils down to how successful this DTC brand is in capturing these leads and converting them into massive sales volumes.

Vicole Lim and Yeann Tan are co-founders of Mates Food Store (widely known as MATES). Vicole oversees MATES’ marketing, spearheading the overall marketing direction, business strategy, and supply chain operations. Yeann, on the other hand, oversees business strategy too, finance, public relations (PR) and partnerships.

Facebook: @heymates.official
Instagram: @heymates.official
Twitter: @TweetyMates

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3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success

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3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success

While everyone dreams of financial stability and career success, it’s all too often that people overwork themselves to the point of burnout while living paycheck to paycheck. It goes without saying that this is something that should be avoided. That said, with the proper strategic investments, you can set yourself up for success down the road. To that end, we’ve outlined our favorite tips on investing in your personal success below.

1. Long-term Investments

The earlier you’re able to invest, the better your future will be. For example, some beneficial long-term investments include purchasing life insurance young or contributing to a 401(k) account. These types of investments start you on the path to building your financial future and providing for your loved ones. 

If you’re looking for a more risky option, you may even decide to invest some capital into the stock market or cryptocurrencies. That said, if you go down this route, research is absolutely necessary. You don’t want to invest your money blindly, but if you get used to moving your money around strategically, it could pay off later on.

2. Mental Well-Being

First and foremost, you want to invest in your mental well-being. For some, this could mean practicing meditation everyday, but for others it could mean enrolling in therapy. After all, if you aren’t properly caring for your emotional health and mental sharpness, other areas of your life will suffer.

Additionally, if you’re finding that you’re regularly stressed out, you might want to establish a consistent mindfulness practice. Research shows that mindfulness helps improve your concentration, immune system function and overall well-being. It can be helpful to start a daily morning mindfulness routine in the form of journaling, meditation or even yoga. This will help you to maintain an optimal mindset to tackle the rest of your day. 

3. Work-Life Balance

These days, hustle culture will lead you to believe that every moment of every second needs to be spent “grinding” in order to achieve business success. This is simply not true. Success isn’t just about financial achievement, it’s also about taking care of your personal life. The last thing you want is for your relationships with friends and family to suffer because you’re too focused on working.

To achieve a healthy work-life balance, you need to be assertive. Set clear boundaries between work and your personal life. For example, you can make it a habit to not to check your work email when spending quality time with your family. Set aside time for yourself to do things that you find rewarding and relaxing. If you can properly decompress during your time off, it will even help you be more productive when you return to work. 
To reach your definition of success, you’re going to need to make strategic personal investments early on. This means investing both time and money into your long-term well-being. By making the right investments, you will see overall improvements in your quality of life. To learn more about investing in yourself, the folks at The Zebra created the infographic below.

3 Tips to Invest in Your Personal Success
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